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© Jen Murphy
Baho, a local Nicaraguan dish, from Aqua.
On my recent trip to Nicaragua, I spent two days at a brand new beachfront, eco-treehouse villa retreat called Aqua. A little more than 30 miles north of the Costa Rican border or an adventurous 90-minute drive south from Granada (partly along a bumpy dirt road with feral pigs and cows dashing out into the road), Aqua is tucked away in the small village of Tola and is a yoga-foodie-surfer paradise. My treehouse villa had a super-luxe kitchen with a Bosch fridge and a wine fridge, plus a mini plunge pool on the deck looking down to the ocean. Top yoga instructors teach class on the huge yoga deck overlooking the beach and world-class waves are just one beach away for surfing. Aqua’s mission is sustainability. Juan, one of the local staff, took me on a spectacular three-hour nature hike up overlooking the nearby surfing beaches.
Much of the hotel's produce is sourced from a farm nearby Ometepe Island and there is talk of organizing sustainable cooking classes led by guest chefs from the States. There was a yoga retreat at the resort during my visit and I felt a blt guilty to be indulging in the organic Nica coffee, local brews and the incredible food like a local dish called Baho (orange-and-lime marinated carne, yucca and plantain steamed in banana leaf) while the yogis were spending the week eating vegan and even fasting some days.
A new spa and more treehouse villas are in the works for later this year. There’s also a huge golf resort, a paved road and an airport in Tola’s future. I’m guessing the secret about Aqua and this idyllic beach town in Nicaragua will soon be high on people’s travel radar.