National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, and Frommer’s have all recommended Morgan’s Rock, which overlooks the Pacific from a private nature reserve. There, a lush dry forest is filled with howler monkeys, sloths, and tropical birds.
Perched on a cliff, each thatch-roof bungalow has its own ocean-view deck and direct access to a private beach. Each room has been designed for peace and serenity amid nature, from its setting among the treetops to its hand-carved stones.
You can ride horseback on the property, kayak through the mangroves, or join one of the many other tours and excursions offered onsite. The Discover package gets you one tour per day.
Both the Light and Discover packages include meals highlighted by authentic Nicaraguan cuisine. Visitors even share breakfast with (and prepared by) locals at the resort’s working farm.
You can watch turtles nesting and hatching year-round on Morgan’s Rock’s beach.
The resort’s environmental practices range from allowing trees to grow through cabin roofs to advancing the property’s reforestation. In 2011, Morgan’s Rock won the title of Leading Green Hotel in Mexico and Central America from the World Travel Awards.
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua: Undisturbed Tropical Wildlife and Popular Surf Spots
Situated on Nicaragua's Pacific coast, San Juan del Sur has been a favorite of in-the-know surfers for years thanks to year-round warm waters. Many head to the white-sand Playa Maderas. There, surf shops dot the streets closest to the beach, offering lessons and boards for beginners and veterans alike. Farther offshore, the waters are calmer and filled with marlin, yellow tuna, and snapper, attracting deep-sea fishers and snorkelers.
Though most of the action takes place along San Juan del Sur's crescent-shaped bay, the gorgeous scenery inland is also worth exploring. About an hour-and-a-half drive north of San Juan del Sur lie the Mombacho and Masaya volcanoes. The 4,000-foot Mombacho is dormant, but one of the Masaya craters still emits smoke and gas. Zipline tours cut through the canopies of a tropical forest, where you can listen as resident howler monkeys auction off treehouses.