Beauty Passport: Nicaragua
Until fairly recently Nicaragua was a well-kept secret among travelers, typically favored by backpackers or people who like to go off the grid. However, with its natural beauty and wide range of unique hotels, this destination is growing more popular each year. There’s so much to love about Nicaragua — you can partake in adventures like sandboarding down a dormant volcano, visit cities that are vibrant with both colonial and modern architecture, and meet locals who are incredibly welcoming. Another great aspect of Nicaragua is its commitment to wellness and wide range of top-notch spas. After a recent trip there I’m counting down the best spas in Nicaragua.
This place is unlike any other – set on 1,300 acres of land in a nature reserve, this property has only eight rooms but incredibly much to do on-site. You can go horseback riding, shoot rifles, ATV, mountain bike, go birdwatching and even do a ropes course. After all that exercise, you’ve earned some quality spa time to unwind. Nekupe’s spa is located close to their club house and like the rest of the property, it embodies relaxed luxury. The spa concept was developed by Brazilian spa consultant Renata De Abreu who created a list of restorative treatments that nourish and balance. Enjoy a Jicaro Relaxing Massage to loosen tight limbs or get a Guanacastillo Foot Massage to rejuvate your feet and improve overall wellness. The spa also incorporates local traditions such as utilizing dragonfruit in the form of a body polish in their Pithaya Let It Go Massage which softens and smooths your skin. You can also relax in an invigorating citrus bath which looks and smells delightful.
Where Nekupe is a rugged nature oasis, Mukul is a lush oceanside destination. You can stay at a beach villa or a cliffside bohio overlooking a verdant forest with views of the ocean. People love to come here to surf or chill by the beach. Personally, I was most impressed by Mukul’s extensive spa, which features six unique sanctuaries that each provide their own experience. I had a chance to spend a few hours in the Ancient Sanctuary Experience. First, I had an organic scrub (you can choose from volcanic clay, organic cacao, aloe, or coffee) applied to my body which detoxified my skin . Next, I experienced another traditional citric bath which relaxed my mind and spirit with its aromatic scent. The session culminated with a full-body massage using local coconut oil and an organic facial mask. My skin felt soft and revitalized head to toe after. The other rooms to choose from are the Hammam (a nod to Turkish and Moroccan spa culture), Crystal Temple (utilizes soothing vibrations from crystal singing bowls), Rainforest (spotlight on the healing properties of water and plants from the sea), Secret Garden (enjoy the unique massage therapy watsu) and Oolal Rituals (provides ancestral and holistic experiences). Each experience has a distinct transcendent vibe and give you the chance to experience a full spa day rather than just an appointment.
3. Jicaro Island
This eco-lodge is truly one of a kind – located on one of the 365 Isletas (small islands) in Lake Nicaragua, this is the ultimate place to disconnect. However its isolated location doesn’t mean you’ll just be sitting around the island all day — you can pick from an array of tours, from ziplining to sandboarding to standup paddle so you can work up a sweat. Afterwards you can indulge in a variety of massages at Jicaro Island — during the Hot Island Massage hot stones will be gently moved around your back to release any tension and provide a warming, soothing feeling. Feeling super sore after your activities? Their Paradise massage will sort you out. It’s a Swedish massage which merges slow movements and relaxing pressure applications. At Jicaro there’s also a great outdoor deck where you can practice yoga and really become one with nature.