Sometimes, we come across a secret that’s just too good to keep to ourselves. Such is the case with Mukul, a luxury resort that opened this month in Guacalito de la Isla, a private beach community in Nicaragua. Named after the Mayan word for “secret,” this $250 million resort is home to a breathtaking mix of natural beauty, understated yet luxurious décor and a familial atmosphere that makes you feel right at home. Here are five things you should know about the latest jewel in Nicaragua’s Emerald Coast:
1. More is better, especially when it comes to spas. The Spa Mukul is composed of six different spa “casitas,” private treatment houses that cater to your every relaxation need through different healing approaches. The name of each casita — Secret Garden, Hamman, Rain Forest, Crystal Temple, Healing Hut and Casita Mukul — hints at the service offered within its walls (for example, hydrotherapy aficionados can book a salt-water soaking session in the Rain Forest casita). Treatments can be reserved in three-hour, half-day and full-day increments.
2. Golf goes green. Don Carlos Pellas, the entrepreneur and philanthropist who created the Mukul Resort, wanted to offer his guests the opportunity to take a swing amid some of the most beautiful terrain in Nicaragua. He enlisted David McLay Kidd, a golf designer known for his work on famous greens such as Bandon Dunes and the Castle Course in St. Andrew, to create the country’s first beachfront 18-hole course. Best of all, you can swing in peace, knowing that the course was built sustainably. Rather than chopping down native trees and greenery, Kidd and his team transported plants to deforested areas.
3. Private pools and high ceilings come standard. With just 37 rooms on site, Mukul is able to retain a sense of intimacy and seclusion, even at full capacity. The hardest part of booking a visit will be deciding which style of room to get: a spacious one- or two-bedroom Beach Villa, where a garden lounge area comes equipped with its own outdoor shower; a Bohio cliff house, which provides sweeping views of Playa Manzanillo from its hillside location through glass walls; or, for the posh globetrotter, a night in Casona Don Carlos, a two-bedroom suite in the Pellas family’s private beach home when it’s away.
4. Nature’s playground is always open. Mukul Resort offers a handful of guided excursions to satisfy both beach bums and adrenaline junkies. Hop on the Pellas’ private boat for a tour of the 365 volcanic islands dotted throughout Lake Nicaragua, before retreating to the family’s lake house for a day filled with fishing, kayaking and waterskiing. Feeling a bit more adventurous? Take a helicopter to Cerro Negro Volcano, where a one-hour hike up the side ends with an opportunity to speed back down to ground level by ash boarding, an extreme sport that’s similar to snowboarding. (Don’t worry, a bilingual pro will give a safety lesson before sending you downhill.)
5. Bring your appetite. The visual feast surrounding Mukul isn’t the only bounty to be found at this resort. Accommodations include a full breakfast and lunch, where you’ll sample the kitchen’s spin on traditional Nicaraguan flavors and the culinary style of the Americas. Sustainability is a key ingredient to the food service here, with produce, seafood and beef sourced from local farmers and merchants as often as possible. In between meals, nosh on gourmet snacks by the pool and enjoy complimentary soft drinks, domestic beer, fine wines and liquors. Don’t miss the opportunity to sample rare Flor de Caña rums (and, if you find yourself fancying a day trip, inquire about the guided tour of the distillery).
Photos Courtesy of Mukul Beach Golf & Spa