Nicaragua: Where to Stay: Family Friendly: Morgan's Rock
Nicaragua’s first eco-lodge, Morgan’s Rock features only 15 ocean-facing, open-air (with screens) bungalows, allowing guests to be awakened by nature. Without air-conditioning, the rooms can get warm but the ocean provides beautiful breezes.
The technology-free rooms were all designed by British sustainable designer, Matthew Falkiner (the same designer who helped create Jicaro Eco-Lodge), and feature reclaimed wood interiors, natural stone details and local crafts. The outdoor showers and swinging-double-chaise lounges are protected but allow guests to feel completely at one with their surroundings.
The property sits on 1,800 acres of farm and rainforest, and resort guides can lead tours to spot howler, white-faced and spider monkeys and dozens of species of birds. The farm includes cashew, avocado, mango and citrus fruits and 55% of food consumed at the resort is produced on the property. Kids and their parents will love the Farm Breakfast which includes milking the cows and picking up eggs from the chicken coop, then having breakfast cooked for you in an authentic adobe house with dirt floor. Needless to say, the resort takes pride in the certified-organic food.
Guests can relax on the one-and-a-half mile private beach with adorable cabanas or in the salt-water pool, which boasts breathtaking views. Other activities include kayaking through the property’s estuary, horseback rides on the beach and nature walks and hikes. World-class surfing at Maderas beach is just a fifteen-minute drive away.
Morgan’s Rock, like most Nicaraguan hotels and resorts, is highly concerned with supporting the local communities and economy. This resort alone supports six schools (educating a total of 250 students) and even comes in to teach lessons on such subjects as recycling and health. They are currently running a program teaching local women candle-making (the resort will buy their products to keep their electricity use low.)
The resort does not have a spa but can arrange for an in-room massage. The staff is all local and most live on the property making for a very warm and welcoming atmosphere. All-inclusive rates start at $142.
WHO SHOULD STAY: Honeymooners and families alike. Those looking for an escape: rooms have no technology and WiFi is available only in the lounge and bar.
WHO SHOULD NOT STAY: Those not comfortable with wildlife: monkeys have been known to hang from the bedroom screens. There was once a snake blocking the path to all the rooms. If you take issue with heights, be warned that all bungalows with the exception of #1 and #2, and the path to the beach, are only accessible by walking over a swing bridge that hangs over a 60 plus foot drop.
ROOMS TO GET: #8, #9 and #10 have the best views.
INDAGARE TIP: Morgan’s Rock has a private plane and a landing strip so can pick up guests from Managua airport. Flights cost $750 each way for up to 5 passengers.— Amelia Osborne 01/14/2012