Nicaragua, the Undiscovered Luxury Beach Destination for Billionaires and Celebrities – Forbes

Nicaragua, the Undiscovered Luxury Beach Destination for Billionaires and Celebrities

JIM DOBSON CONTRIBUTOR

As my helicopter descended upon the vibrant Emerald coastline of Nicaragua, I was filled with anticipation to discover this magical paradise, after hearing from high end travelers about its hidden, undiscovered location. Nicaragua is quickly becoming a first rate alternative to luxury resorts in Mexico and Costa Rica. It has quietly become a superstar getaway for Beyonce, Michael Douglas, Halle Berry, Morgan Freeman, Michael Fassbender and many others thanks to the allure of the recently opened Mukul Resort, the country’s first five-star hotel.

 

Delta now offers direct flights from Los Angeles. Once in Managua, it’s a two hour drive (30-minute helicopter ride) to the majestic and tranquil Mukul Beach & Spa Resort located in a very exclusive and private stretch along the Pacific Ocean. The area is also blessed with the opening of the new Costa Esmeralda Airport—only five miles north of Mukul. The 492,000-square-foot airport features one terminal and a 5,000-foot runway that will be able to accommodate Gulfstream GV jets.

 

The spectacular Mukul Resort in Nicaragua (photo by Ryan Forbes)

The spectacular Mukul Resort in Nicaragua (photo by Ryan Forbes)

After years of political turbulence and war, Nicaragua is now safe and growing daily. It’s quiet unpopulated beaches, bohemian surf villages, and boutique hotels is trying to remain intimate and traditional, while still embracing the future. A huge $50 billion dollar Panama Canal style development which will attract international commerce and further growth connecting the Pacific to the Atlantic. A Chinese billionaire is funding the canal development and is stirring a lot of controversy in the area.

Read the rest: Nicaragua, the Undiscovered Luxury Beach Destination for Billionaires and Celebrities – Forbes

Excellent article Jim Dobson, I was tempted to hop on a helicopter and get over to the Mukul Resort just reading it! You did a great job and I’m sure that the Pellas’ are pleased with the results. I live and work here in Nicaragua and just want to say I appreciate Forbes giving the minuscule luxury spa segment of the Nicaraguan tourism offerings a boost. 500,000 more visitors came this year than last, an increase of 8.5%, but very few came for this segment of the market. I expect more will come now.

The new Costa Esmeralda airport will be a game-changer as not only private jets (with their celebrity passengers) can fly in, but direct flights from San Jose and Liberia in Costa Rica in addition to short flights from Managua make access easier and quicker. Good on ‘ya too for getting out in the community a bit. I was afraid you weren’t going to see any of the real Nicaragua but looks like you at least got a glimpse.

Cheers, Mike @ Farmstay El Porton Verde, Managua

Center for Extreme Tourism Opens on Nicaragua’s Tallest Volcano

Center for Extreme Tourism Opens on Nicaragua’s Tallest Volcano

CHICHIGALPA, Nicaragua – A new attraction for fans of extreme tourism has been inaugurated at the foot of San Cristobal Volcano, Nicaragua’s tallest, in the northwestern region of the Central American country.
Volcano San Cristobal in Nicaragua, taken from an upper level of the sugar mill at the Ingenio San Antonio in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua. Ryan Ballantyne --ryos 01:28, 18 June 2006 (UTC) - Own work

Volcano San Cristobal in Nicaragua, taken from an upper level of the sugar mill at the Ingenio San Antonio in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua.
Ryan Ballantyne –ryos 01:28, 18 June 2006 (UTC) – Own work

The site, with its inn, dining hall, visitors center, tourist service facility and trails for climbing the 1,745-meter (5,721-foot) high volcano, was constructed with a budget of 250,000 euros ($276,125), funded 80 percent by the European Union and 20 percent by the Chichigalpa city government.

Its construction is aimed at promoting the comprehensive development of the tourism value chain based on the Route of the Colonial Cities and the Volcanoes, the EU said.

“We used to think that all this volcano could do was erupt, but now it’s on the national route of tourist attractions,” Chichigalpa Mayor Victor Manuel Sevilla told EFE.

Cool story from the LatAm Herald Tribune about the opening of a new tourist center located on Volcano San Cristobal, located near Chichigalpa, which is in-between Leon and Chinandega, Nicaragua. The volcano is consistently active, and is the tallest in Nicaragua at 5,725 ft. It’s part of a chain of five volcanoes in the area.
The funding came mostly from the EU with a portion paid for by the city of Chichigalpa. This new center is expected to boost sustainable tourism.

Surfing beaches near Managua or Granada – Nicaragua Forum – TripAdvisor

Gazelle1 London Level Contributor 100 posts 29 reviews

Surfing beaches near Managua or Granada

Sep 13, 2015, 7:22 AM

Hi there, Can anyone tell me the easiest good surfing beach to get to from Managua or Granada? Thank you

Re: Surfing beaches near Managua or Granada

Sep 16, 2015, 12:09 AM

Greetings Gazelle1: The best surfing beaches near Managua are Pochomil, San Diego (Gran Pacifica), and Playa Quizala. More here, “Top five Managua-area Vacation, Surfing, and Fishing Villages” elportonverde.com/2014/…

From Managua, the beaches are about 1 hour away while from Granada, the beaches are about 1 1/2 hours away, plus they aren’t really that great for surfing with possibly the exception of La Boquita.

Cheers, Mike @ Farmstay El Porton Verde, Managua

Source: Surfing beaches near Managua or Granada – Nicaragua Forum – TripAdvisor

Mundial de SurfSurfing is definitely more accessible and with better quality waves from Managua than Granada IMO. There is one world-class surf spot and three or four other good surfing beaches near Managua. Granada on the other hand, is further away from the ocean and the only real surfing beach is La Boquita, which is okay but definitely neither world-class nor is is it a good beginner’s beach.

I replied later on to the same thread on TripAdvisor that if they are leaving from Granada, they’d be better off going down to the Tola beaches, which are lovely and have fantastic surf! They’ve even held World Surf Championships in Tola!

Overall, there’s an embarrassment of riches as far as surf spots go, as you can see illustrated in this post. I posted there four different Google maps images of just a handful of the known surfspots in Nicaragua. But there’s probably a good twenty or thirty more spots besides the ones I’m posting.

Noticias de Prensa Latina – Tourism Grows 8.5 Percent in Nicaragua

Tourism Grows 8.5 Percent in Nicaragua

Managua, Oct 19 (Prensa Latina) The entry of foreign tourists to Nicaragua, grew 8.7 percent in the seven first months of 2015, compared to the same period of 2014, said the Nicaraguan Tourism Institute (INTUR) Monday. Janice Ruiz, co-director of INTUR, said that the total number of arrivals of foreign tourists was of almost 810,000, said Nicaraguan website El Digital Monday.

From January to September more than 1 million 867 people visited the Nicaraguan tourist centers that are being managed by INTUR. This number is superior to the previous year, in more than 500,000 people.

Source: Noticias de Prensa Latina – Tourism Grows 8.5 Percent in Nicaragua

Barcelo Monetilimar Resort--not five star!

Barcelo Monetilimar Resort–not five star!

Another data point for those following Nicaragua and specifically tourism in Nicaragua. In past years IIRC it’s been going up, but only by maybe 4 or 5% a year. This is a big jump at 8.7% with more than a half a million visitors.

Of note though is that a majority of foreign tourists are actually from other Central American countries like Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, etc. The other important data not discussed in this little blurb is the average daily spend of the tourists. You want that number to go up as the mix of visitors begins to include more folks looking for a more upscale, luxury experience.

There’s now at least four or possibly more really nice 4- and 5-star resort properties in Nicaragua now, so let’s hope we can find numbers for those visitors, how many are coming and what their average daily spend might be!

Retire to Nicaragua’s Crown Jewel – US News

Granada is built around a bustling town square anchored by a neoclassical cathedral.

Granada is built around a bustling town square anchored by a neoclassical cathedral.

Retire to Nicaragua’s Crown Jewel

Granada has charming Spanish-colonial homes selling for bargain prices. Granada is built around a bustling town square anchored by a neoclassical cathedral. By Kathleen Peddicord Oct. 20, 2015 | 9:45 a.m. EDT

 

Nicaragua offers one of the world’s largest lakes, pristine Caribbean beaches and islands, cool mountains and hundreds of miles of dramatically beautiful Pacific coastline. This country also boasts one of the world’s most affordable costs of living in retirement. A couple could retire comfortably here on as little as $1,200 per month. It’s easy to establish retiree residency in Nicaragua, which has a low minimum income threshold. Regardless of what you may have heard or read, Nicaragua is a safe and welcoming place. Every time I visit, I look forward to getting there and I’m sorry to leave.

Source: Retire to Nicaragua’s Crown Jewel – US News

You have to hand it to Kathleen Peddicord, she does have the ability to publish the same basic article seemingly about one hundred times and the US media keeps eating it up! Kathleen has been around Nicaragua for quite some time off and on, so it’s not like she doesn’t know of which she speaks, heaven forbid!

It is interesting that there is such a consistent push towards Granada from the likes of International Living Magazine and Live and Invest Overseas. While I personally like Granada quite a bit,I wouldn’t call it the “Crown Jewel of Nicaragua.” Being a tourist there is quite fun on occasion, and the town itself is lovely, but as the saying goes, “Its a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.”

The restaurants have a good variety, albeit are overpriced compared to local spots. The isletas are fun to visit too. It’s near Mombacho Volcano and Laguna de Apoyo, both beautiful spots.

For the casual reader interesting in relocating to Nicaragua, I recommend staying away from organizations that make most of their money selling the dream in the form of expensive conferences where experts will share their knowledge about how to make it abroad, especially from a financial perspective. The majority of so-called “experts” really are interested in selling you their overpriced real estate. Making money in real estate is not the typical scenario here.

In fact, I’m a proponent of taking a very cautious approach to living and investing overseas as there are downsides to living in Nicaragua or other overseas countries that publications and individuals which are mostly interested in selling you real estate naturally are unlikely to put in the forefront.

Not only do they want to sell you property at the “gringo price” but the “dumb money gringo price.” The lifestyle seminars won’t tell you about lots of important aspects of moving and living overseas. Pricing of real estate, for example, is not transparent, although there was recently published a price snapshot for Central American real estate.

People from the United States, Canada and Europe move to Nicaragua for a lot of different reasons. If you want to live in the largest expat community, join the clubs and legion halls like you did back home and be able to easily get along hardly speaking a word of Spanish, then Granada is the place for you. Just don’t think it’s the place to buy cheap real estate and live inexpensively. A similar house in a village about fifteen minutes away from Granada would cost about 1/3 less, for example.

Sure it might cost less to live in Granada than in a big city up north, but don’t go thinking you’ll be part of the greater Nicaraguan community or that you’ll really be challenged to learn the language. For example, if your goal is to integrate to a certain extent with the locals, I think there are better places to do that in Nicaragua. If your goal is to live cheaply, there are lots of places that fit the bill better. For example, a little house in the nearby “Pueblos Blancos” such as Niquonomo, Masatepe, Catarina, San Juan de Oriente, etc. might be the call. The weather is better there anyway as the elevation is higher.

I hope this gives you dear reader(s), a bit of perspective so when you read these articles you keep your mind on the realities, not just the dream, of living in Nicaragua. As always, feedback and comments are welcome!

Your first and best contact in Nicaragua-Package Deals, MGA pickup

“Soft Landing” Service

In reviewing what we do well here at El Porton Verde and where we perhaps could do better, one thing I’m certain of on the positive side is that we perform a very good service to first-time visitors to Nicaragua. In that light, this post is touting EPV as “your first and best contact” and that we do ” Nicaragua Package Deals” and “MGA pickup.”

Nicaragua Package Deals

Let’s talk about the Nicaragua package deals for example. We call them the “surf and turf” specials. I can get you into a house right on the beach, airport transport, take you to a supermarket, get your dollars changed into cordobas, then come and pick you up after the five (or more…) days is over, and provide that first and/or last night lodging if you get in really late or depart really early. This package deal for Salinas Grandes property EPV manages is a super great deal at less than $500! The Pochomil property is a bit more at less than $700.

For the very independent traveler that is confident in your ability to get around in Nicaragua (for example, taking public buses around the country instead of pricey private shuttles services) it’s true you might prefer to travel that way. If it’s your first time in-country, and aren’t real strong with your Spanish language skills, then it might be worth your while to stay with us. Make sense? Let me know by adding your comments below!

$40/night Beachfront Eco-Casita in Salinas Grandes near Leon, Nicaragua

$75/night 24 Steps 2 Sand! Pochomil Beach

Yes this house, located on Pochomil Beach is for rent! It’s a great house for a small family to stay in, perfect for a couple with two children for example. I have lots of details of the house documented, most of which you can see on the Casa Ayers in Pochomil web page here on elportonverde.com.

At $75 USD a night, it isn’t cheap but then again it is oceanfront. I think it represents a great value for the money. Also, we offer a fantastic “surf and turf” special that is nearly all-inclusive and represents a great value. A family of four can have their beach vacation for just about $100 (a little more actually) a night! This includes all transportation, supermarket shopping, overnights as necessary at El Porton Verde, money exchange, and whatever other help you might need. Fully staffed house where the caretakers treat you great!

What’s it Like at Pochomil Beach?

I believe I will write up something on what the little area has to offer, but for now, here’s a sneak preview. Pochomil is right next to Masachapa. Actually, Casa Ayers is located just about in-between the two beaches on it’s own semi-private beach.

The area is a beach town where Managuan’s come on the weekends to enjoy the sun and the surf. It’s fairly quiet during the week, but on weekends and especially during Semana Santa (Easter Week), it is really poppin’ with lots of activity.

You’ll see ATV’s cruising the beach, people enjoying horseback rides, at the surf spots people surfing, and plenty of relaxing, eating a fish dinner and drinking one or several cold Toña or Victoria beers.

More to come soon! Contact EPV if interested in renting this beach front home in Pochomil Beach, Nicaragua.

Beachfront Homes and Lots Tola | venta | PLAYA SANTANA $12,500 : USD 12500.00

Tola | PLAYA SANTANA $12,500

  • 10/04/2015 4:30 pm
  • Beachfront Homes and Lots

Property Information

Location: Tola
Price $12,500.00
Price/m2 of land $20.59
Construction size m2: 0
Lot Size in m2: 607
Benefits: Near School, Near Transit, Mountain View, Plane, Electrïcity, Easy Acces

Description

ROADFRONT. 350 MT FROM BEACH. CHEAPEST LOT YOU WILL FIND THIS CLOSE TO THE BEACH.

Tola | PLAYA SANTANA $12,500 10/04/2015 4:30 pm Beachfront Homes and Lots Property Information Location: Tola Price $12,500.00 Price/m2 of land $20.59 Construction size m2: 0 Lot Size in m2: 607 Benefits: Near School, Near Transit, Mountain View, Plane, Electrïcity, Easy Acces Description ROADFRONT. 350 MT FROM BEACH. CHEAPEST LOT YOU WILL FIND THIS CLOSE TO THE BEACH.

Source: Beachfront Homes and Lots Tola | venta | PLAYA SANTANA $12,500 : USD 12500.00

DISCLAIMER: NEITHER THIS WEBSITE NOR THIS AUTHOR HAVE ANY INTEREST IN THIS PROPERTY. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION FOLLOW THE LINK AND CONTACT THE OWNER DIRECTLY. thank you!!!!

I haven’t lately posted any of these real estate ads that I find might be interesting to my dear reader(s), so here is one that popped up that looked good. This is actually near Playa Santana aka Playa Jiquiliste, which is where one of the three ISA surf championships was held; actually the contest was held here two years ago.

Playa Santana is near Popoyo, and the whole area is undergoing sort of a growth spurt, what with the new Costa Esmeralda airport opening up nearby. It’s a region of Nicaragua known for its excellent surfing and is a fairly tranquil and rural sort of country feel of a place.

This property is a bit back from the beach, but 350 meters certainly is within walking distance. Also, not being that close to the beach is good in the sense of WHEN we get another tsunami there might be a bit less chance of your house being carried away along with various lives. What you say? You haven’t heard of any tsunami’s in Nicaragua? Well, look it up folks!

There was a tsunami in 1992, so a bit more than twenty years ago and it wiped out the homes along this stretch of beach and one hundred or so lives were lost too, so it’s something to consider when you buy property in Nicaragua. You might want a bit of elevation!

So with that pleasant thought I’ll sign off now. Enjoy!

 

Ometepe empowers rural tourism • El Nuevo Diario

  • Ometepe |
  • |

The calm waters of Lake Nicaragua represent a source of income for artisanal fishermen Ruth Martinez and 29 other members of the Israel Cooperative in the municipality of Moyogalpa on Ometepe.

But starting this weekend, the office that this group has developed throughout her life will experience a leap of quality.

“Another livelihood for fishermen who will offer kayak tours, boat, some crafts and the possibility that the visitor can learn how to fish with bait, cast net or seine” says Martinez, who from now on will be a small business owner at the Eco Efficiency Center in Punta Jesus Maria, which opened on Saturday by representatives of the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism (Intur), the European Union, the Cleaner Production Centre, the Luxembourg Agency for Development Cooperation and the municipality of Moyogalpa.

Local development

Efficient Eco Center, together with the Floral Trail, located in the reserve of the Concepción volcano and ferry station infrastructure Puerto Las Brisas, in the town of Altagracia, part of the Project to Support Local Economic Development through Colonial and Volcano Routes since 2012 driving in six departments of the Pacific the above organizations and ending in December: Tourism sector.

Sendero Concepción volcano– Sendero Concepción volcano –

According to Marc Riehl, regional director of the Luxembourg Agency for Development Cooperation, the project has earmarked an amount of 8.2 million euros, 3 million of that total was spent for the benefit of 19 local tourism initiatives in the Pacific country.Intervention in these three initiatives approved in the case of the island of Ometepe to strengthen local capacities in services, infrastructure and development of tourist circuits.

“The most important aspect of the project is to work with communities, because subsidies have been given to NGOs, cooperatives and municipal governments, it is most important to us, that the money gets to the people and that can have an impact in the lives of people, “said Riehl.

Maria Miriam Potoy, representative of the Foundation among Volcanoes, shared that with the implementation of the project was able to form the Union of Tourist Guides of the island and Rural Network Ometepe Tourism.

“In the case of the Union of Guides became a formal cooperative composed of 17 members, while the network currently encompasses 11 initiatives,” said Potoy.
According to Potoy, members of both initiatives have been trained in areas such as tourism management, accounting, marketing and service improvement, especially with regard to advertising campaigns via the Internet.

Among the beneficiaries are members of the cooperative artisanal fishermen Israel in Punta Jesus Maria.

What will be offered?

According to Walter Ponce, coordinator of the Rural Tourism Network, living with families on the island, adventure and natural landscapes are part of the strengths that the beneficiaries may explode.

“The options are promoting include boating, riding, cycling, nature-friendly activities. Also living together in houses of native people, and elements related to the ancestral part of the island, shared Ponce.

Meanwhile, Roger Arcia, micro Punta de Jesus Maria said that apart from the option of learning to fish, tourists also have the chance to taste the local cuisine and entertainment in top condition.

The Island (Ometepe) is one of the main destinations for visitors, the vast majority are foreigners, but also domestic tourists, “says Anasha Campbell, co-director of Intur.

Punta Jesus Maria five modules have been built where visitors will be offered food, drink and crafts typical of the island. Meanwhile, Maria Leticia Salazar, project coordinator, said that the complex will allow the population of Moyogalpa have a tidy and suitable for space tourism potential of the municipality.

“Those who came visiting us for a while and then went to the other town, where infrastructure exists r Qu, with the first phase we hope to start to change that,” added Salazar.

While in the path La Flora in Concepcion volcano, which is under the responsibility of the Cooperative Union of Tourist Guides of Ometepe, we want to encourage this option as a major Moyogalpa.

“In the first 500 meters an agricultural intervention that keeps you in touch with nature, in the second part of the tour you can see a lot of species of trees, bird watching, herds of howler monkeys, white face is seen and variety of reptiles and amphibians, “said Jose Antonio Argeñal, coordinator of volunteer rangers on the island of Ometepe.

Important Enclave

Anasha Campbell, co-director of Intur, stressed the importance of Ometepe as a key tourism enclave both nationally and internationally, so that strengthening the capacity of local tourism businesses is an essential step.

“The island is one of the main destinations for visitors, the vast majority are foreigners, but also the national economy, in the case of those who visit believe that spending is higher than the average in the rest of the country (40-42 dollars), because it involves transported to the island, stay on the island, buy local crafts, “said Campbell.

According to the co-director of Intur, from January to July this year the flow of tourists has grown by 4.4 percent over the same period last year.

“In July last year we received nearly 700,000 visitors, this year the figure exceeds 800,000
tourists, “Campbell said.

  • The Eco Efficient Punta de Jesus Maria, the complex path Floral Volcano Conception and construction of infrastructure waiting room Puerto Las Brisas in Altagracia, the three projects are developed on the island of Ometepe; with a total investment of 567.445 euros.

Source: Ometepe potencia el turismo rural • El Nuevo Diario

This is a good story, another good data point for those following Nicaraguan tourism and it’s development. The story says 800,000 tourists are visiting in 2015 with 700,000 visiting the year before. That is a lot of visitors!

Teaching tourists the traditional fishing techniques, offering kayaks and such, is all good. Equally, I’m glad to hear that better infrastructure in general is in place and other projects soon to come. Congratulations Ometepe Island, you are definitely on the list of most-visited places for tourists in Nicaragua. I would guess Granada and San Juan del Sur would be the other in the top-three. Opinions?