Four-Star Retreat near Gorgeous Central American Bay
Pelican Eyes Resort & Spa is located higher than almost every other hotel in Nicaragua, perched on a steep hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean at San Juan del Sur bay. The views from here are well worth the trip to the top of the hill—from the four-star resort’s open-air restaurants and private verandas, you can take in sensational views of the ocean. But the best vantage point might be at the upper infinity pool, where guests can sip watermelon margaritas while looking out onto the sailboat-dotted harbors and peninsular bluffs. Due in part to these scenic views, Travel + Leisure says the resort has "become something of a landmark in this tiny Nicaraguan fishing village.”
The hotel can set up a handful of outdoor adventures ranging from sailing excursions to zipline tours to rappelling sessions. Take a day trip to nearby Granada, Central America’s oldest colonial town, or take surfing lessons along the beach.
After a day out, relax at Tranquila Spa with a treatment that uses locally farmed botanicals. The healing cool-aloe-and-neem cocoon, for example, features aloe picked from the resort’s onsite garden.
The resort's scenic dining venues include La Cascada Bar & Restaurant, a breakfast, lunch, and dinner spot with a candlelit dining room overlooking the bay. Options may include appetizers such as ceviche or arugula salad with mango and avocado and dinner entrees such as grilled rosemary-and-lemon mackerel or banana-leaf roast pork.
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 its year-round warm waters. Many visitors head straight to the white sands of Playa Maderas. Here, 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—making this a perfect spot for deep-sea fishing and snorkeling.
Although most of the action takes place along San Juan del Sur's crescent-shaped bay, the gorgeous scenery inland is also worth exploring. About a 90-minute 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.