The seven countries that make up Central America (Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Belize, and Guatemala) offer something for every traveler, from beaches to volcanoes to cool cities to pristine rainforest to archaeological sites. These countries are also offering a wider and wider range of hotels. To help you plan your trip, we’re presenting three smart stays in every country in Central America. Up now, our Nicaragua hotel guide.
Best Budget Option:
Skip the often sketchy hostels in Leon and head to Harvest House where spotlessly clean, brightly painted, comfortably furnished private rooms with private bathrooms (from $15 per night) are offered in a huge home. There’s a big shared kitchen, a garden area with a grill, the WiFi is good, and tours can be arranged.
Best Mid-Range Option:
Los Patios Hotel, in the gorgeous Colonial center of Granada, blends the Spanish colonial architecture of the original building with minimalist Scandinavian decor from the homeland of the hotel’s owners. A four-year demolition and reconstruction project turned two lots with dilapidated homes into one of the most elegant hotels in Granada, and certainly one of the best values. The five rooms (from $90 double occupancy including a fabulous full breakfast with French press coffee) are judiciously decorated with lamps imported from Scandinavia, sleek furniture designed in Scandinavia but built in Nicaragua, antique floor tiles and modern, spacious, light-filled bathrooms. The large suite also has an enormous tub. There’s a chlorine-free lap pool and a small outdoor spa in addition to breezy outdoor sitting areas.
Jicaro Island Lodge (from $400 double occupancy including transfers and three meals a day) excels at luxury and at sustainability. The resort, located on a small private island in Lake Cocibolca, the largest lake in Nicaragua, is about 20 minutes by boat from Granada. The nine, two-level, stand-alone wooden casitas are elegant and spacious, and include an upstairs bedroom, downstairs living area and an ample patio with views of the lake and Mombacho Volcano. All of the luscious hardwood used to build the resort and construct its custom furniture was reclaimed from trees downed by Hurricane Felix. Other ecological practices include an inviting pool that’s kept clean using natural salts instead of chlorine, luxe yet biodegradable bathroom amenities, solar panels, biodegradable water bottles given to every guest (water is not sold in regular plastic bottles at the resort at all), use of bamboo straws instead of plastic straws and grey and black water that’s treated with microbes and used to hydrate the tropical landscaping.