1% Travel Guide: Nicaragua

By Playboy.com Staff

The 1% Travel Guide heads to Central America to the ultra-secluded Aqua Resort in Nicaragua.

Welcome to the 1% Travel Guide, your bible of the most tricked-out, exclusive destinations that money can buy.

Ever wonder what a vacation paradise feels like? The sand beneath your feet, the rays of the hot sun that can only be relieved by yet another ice-cold beverage (alcoholic of course) that arrives precisely as the prior one meets its demise. The sound of the gently lapping waves as a salty mist drifts towards you courtesy of a refreshing breeze. You almost feel you’re there – until boom! Splash! Your multiple kids launch into a succession of cannonballs into the hotel pool, leaving you soaked and forcibly driven back to reality. Paradise? No. Unnamed cheesy Florida kids’ resort? You betcha.

The annual amusement park vacation has a long-standing reputation for being a contrived attempt at family bonding, navigating endless buffet lines and draining your wallet on stuffed toys that require you to buy another first-class ticket home. While you thought employment as a stockbroker would give you a life of leisure, truthfully, it means having a more intimate relationship with your computer than your wife. Seeing your frustration from across the pool, your brother and his vixen of a wife come over and offer up the deal of a lifetime: the rest of the week kid-free…in exchange for your prized classic Mustang for the next year. Before you can negotiate, your seemingly asleep wife screams out “Done!” and you’re on your way to the airport within the hour.

Scared that you’ll book into some urban hotspot, your sun-seeking wife announces she’s made reservations via her iPad en route to ORL, where your vague better half begins driving you toward the international departures terminal. After passing various gates, you’re pushed toward one reading “Boarding now for Managua.” Confused as hell, you ask your wife, “Where in blazes are we going?” Pulling out your passports, she replies with a smirk, “Just a remote spot in Nicaragua.”

Several hours later you’re driving through the rainforest, no cell phone connection, terrified at the thought you and your stocks will never be reunited. Your wife, clearly enjoying the silence of your mobile, is studying a map of the area when she proclaims you’ve arrived. Apart from the tropical surroundings, you see nothing in front of you. Your wife and the driver laugh and motion to the treetops high above. It’s in that moment you realize you’ve landed in a Robinson Crusoe novel, as there amongst the canopy lies a series of handcrafted villas, with the rolling waves of the Pacific Ocean sitting just beyond. Beginning your journey up into the branches, you glimpse some howler monkeys jumping through the trees and on the roofs of the buildings. The hotel’s guide comes to greet you: “Welcome to the Aqua Resort.”

While your first choice of resorts is not usually a rainforest wellness retreat, you’re pleasantly surprised by your wife’s choice of locales, though you find out later that she wasted time taking a car to the resort rather than the chopper so that she could book even more massage sessions at the spa on your credit card. As you’re shown your villa, you’re amazed by what they’ve transported up to that height. From the ground you had suspicions of hammocks and water buckets, but you’re greeted by a king-sized bed, a slate shower and air conditioning, among other amenities. Getting a better look at the resort, you find hidden paths through the canopy, plunge pools, along with platforms to relax in the sun. It’s in that moment that you realize the beauty of being disconnected – something that leads to even more adventure in the treetops as your wife takes on some characteristics of the howler monkeys nearby.

As your week goes on, you split your time between the grandeur of the white beach below, where you get the chance to see turtles hatching mere feet away; hiking the nearby Masaya Volcano; and zip-lining through the brush, along with checking out the resort’s health-inspired Bomelia Restaurant, which features seafood specialties such as ceviche. As you wind down your visit on the last evening at the playfully named Retox Bar, you indulge in some Nicaraguan classics such as the Nica Libre cigar or Flor de Caña rum. You remark out loud, “I’m literally living the high life now; I wish this could last forever.” Your wife wanders over and whispers quietly in your ear, “You can; just name the car you’re giving up next.”

Rates vary by season; check it out at www.aquanicaragua.com


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