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Reviewed 13 October 2012

This was perhaps the most serene, relaxing vacation I've ever taken in my life. Although we usually do city vacations, when Aqua popped up on Jetsetter we knew it was time for a change of pace. Private treehouse steps from the beach at a great price! Here's my summary of this fantastic resort, where yes, we did in fact conceive our first child:

Accommodations:
We ended up splurging a bit and going with one of the one bedroom villas, which is a 2-story suite with a private plunge pool and deck. The villa included a dining table, couch, and kitchen on the 1st floor, and a bathroom, bed, and balcony on the 2nd floor. We were in the Orquidea room, which is important because I believe that not all of the villas include a plunge pool--this one did. I'm extremely glad we went with the suite instead of the single room; the plunge pool provided a nice change of pace when we got tired of the sun and the beach. The resort is rather isolated and there is not a whole lot to do other than relax, so it's extremely important that you enjoy your living space. The kitchen was also a fantastic amenity to have--it allowed us to make our own cocktails from genuine Nicaraguan rum and enjoy them at our leisure on the deck, and saved us some money on drinks to boot. (See photos and my original cocktail recipe here: http://www.perennial-blog.com/2012/05/travel-and-recipe-edition-1-nicaragua.html)

Locale:
We stayed for 5 days at the beginning of May, which is technically the start of the rainy season. We checked the weather daily beforehand and were nervous to find that rain was in the forecast every day. However, upon arrival we were greeted by sunny skies and never felt a drop of rain on our stay--so don't be deterred by a less than stellar forecast. (t seems the rain only occurs sporadically and in pockets, and fortunately it never hit the beach.) The resort has its own beach, which, athough technically not private, is so isolated from the neighboring communities that you are unlikely to find anyone who is not from the resort. During our stay we were frequently the only ones on the beach, which made for a very peaceful and romantic visit. There is a small village about ~1 mile away which is easy to walk to for a change of pace. Other than that, get ready to just stay put, relax, and enjoy the beach and the wildlife.

Service and Amenities:
First off: if you can't handle bugs and wildlife, this is not the place for you. The resort is in a jungle, which means a plethora of insects, and yes, you will find some in your room. There were at least a few ants in our bathroom area every day. Fortunately, no roaches or scorpions, although these do inhabit the area. This does not mean the resort is not clean--it means you are in a jungle. Our room was cleaned and new towels (including beach towels) were provided every morning. The plunge pool was likewise cleaned on a daily basis. Service at the restaurants was a bit hands off, which I sort of prefer. Overall food was fantastic, with only a few misses. If the pizzeria/bakery is open during your stay, it is a must try. The pizzas will rival your favorite home-town pie for sure! Yoga classes occur on a daily basis and are also a must. The classes are held on an open-air deck up the hill overlooking the beach, so your yoga session will be accompanied by an incredible view and sounds of the ocean. Every morning after class my husband commented that I looked the most relaxed he had ever seen me.

Pro-tip:
Have the driver who picks you up from the airport stop at Tola for some supplies before you arrive at the resort. Pick up a bottle of 12 yr. Flor de Cana rum, limes, and club soda. Top that with a 12 pack of Tona beer in cans. Add some snacks for the beach like plantain chips and peanuts. You're set!

In summary, Aqua is a fabulous resort that still feels like a well-kept secret, but it won't be for long. In fact, all of Nicaragua is a well-kept secret, so go there before it explodes and becomes as expensive as Costa Rica. Take your honey, enjoy the alone time, and maybe, if you're lucky, you'll go home with a baby on board.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Paige H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 October 2012

It's an amazing resort, lovely tree houses, very clean, good food, overwhelming friendly staff (everywhere: spa, restaurant, beach, bar, ...), who speaks English enough to communicate, amazing bay and breathtaking nature.
We were there for several days and so we had time to see nearly everything in this resort and around. Wonderful.
Just a few things: if you're there for vacation and yoga, it's not helpful if the management is sitting right beside you in the restaurant to discuss problems or business things. Furthermore the manager never introduced himself, he assumed that everyone knows him. That was irritating. I prefer a friendly welcome and a brief smalltalk in the first days.

All in all it was absolutely amazing.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Martin G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 September 2012

Let me start off by saying we are a late 20's couple who have never been to a third world country (let alone the second poorest in Latin America.) We came into this trip with high expectations still due to Aqua's amazing looking resort and many reviews on this site. However, we did had hesitancies as well due to some of these reviews. I can say 100% that this is one of the best resorts to ever go to.

My only advice to anyone thinking about going to Aqua...or Nica for that matter, is be very clear in what YOU want from the trip. Not what you expect. If you want a resort where the staff wait on you hand and foot, then this isn't your place. If you are looking for excursions that are "adventurous" but you don't get dirty, then this isn't your place. If you want to visit a third world country and not have to see "dirt" or "grime" here and there, this isn't your place.

However, if you're looking for somewhere to go where the staff is the nicest, most helpful people when you need them then Aqua is the place. If you want to go on excursions where you get the full history of Nica (thanks Octavio!) and fly upside down from a zipline in the pouring rain...then Aqua is the place!

I'm amazed at how many reviews here speak of Aqua in a negative light. These reviews are purely subjective so be honest with yourself in what you expect. I can say my wife and I expected a place and experience that would be new. Good or bad - we were prepared, but I'm so glad it ended up being the best trip we've ever been on. The staff, food, atmosphere, monkeys, and all couldn't have been better. My wife and I are already talking about when we can make it back down to Nica. It's an amazing country with amazing people...something much of this world is lacking in now-a-days.

Room Tip: Chip in and get the plunge pool.
  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Eric L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 September 2012

I loved the facilities and the fact that everything was made of wood. We especially loved the bamboo shower outside our treehouse. We met Natalia But and she is a woman of many talents. She shared similar emphasis on organic and natural health and wellness. She has these awesome chocolate workshops that are fun and interactive. I also had a spa visit with Lisette and she is adorable. She smiles from the inside and is the definition of customer service. I had the mombacho massage. The rhythms really helped to awaken my body and relax my mind. There's also a really cute village nearby that you can walk to through the forest and groceries are very cheap there. There are a few restaurants and activity places too.

The stairs are a killer so it may be a worry for those who not physically well, etc. Transportation is ridiculously expensive because of unpaved roads nearby and gas prices so if you are not going for pure vacation, travel and activities can cost a lot. There was an animal that kept running across our treehouse inside roof and would leave small traces of feces all over our bed and we would have to clean it...but it was difficult to explain to staff because of language barriers so we just had to ask to have our bed sheets changed every day. The charms of nature. =)

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Sharon L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 September 2012

To start off, I must say our travel to Nicaragua was a BLAST! Our stay at AQUA was an experience to remember forever. Cannot speak for anyone else but since we are very open minded individuals, all our basic expectations were met and at times exceeded.

Upon exiting the airport, we immediately saw our driver holding a sign with our names on it. He loaded our luggage and we were off on our 2-1/2 hour ride to the resort. This was a great experience in itself because we passed through various towns, got to see farmlands, cows and horses grazing in open field, as well as local nicaraguans going about their daily lives. At the resort, we found the staff to be friendly and accommodating. Our accommodations was comfortable and relaxing. We did not have a beach front villa but could hear the ocean from where we were. We woke up almost every morning to monkeys howling, birds chirping, and a view of the forest right outside our window. The food was made to order and taste great. Nica cheese, bread, and fresh juices. Listening to the constant ocean waves crashing against the rocks while you dine or relax at the beach was a most pleasant experience. We could go on at length about our experience but it is too much to put into writing.

We took some time to review some of the experiences and complaints others had about their stay at AQUA, but the only negative things (if you want to call it that) that we would agree slightly on was that some of the meals were a little pricey and the number of steps you may have to take to get back and forth to the villa if its not by the beach front. For us, taking steps was a plus because that became our daily exercise. People have to remember that you are in the mountains. The steps are there for your convenience otherwise you wouldn't be able to experience this wonderful place.

Many Thanks to: (hope names are spelled correctly)
- Octavio (The greatest tour guide ever. Hope you are still there when we visit again)
- Adolfo (Driver for the tour guide)
- Jaqueline (The beautiful and sweet Receptionist)
- Julio (Waiter)
- Rojal (The driver who picked us up at the airport)
- Rana (Pronunced 'Rene' rolling the r's - The driver who dropped us at the airport)
- All the other staff we didn't get names for or didn't see behind the scenes, especially the room attendants
- General Manager and Co-manager, Yoga Instructor, etc.

Many thanks to them all for making our honeymoon one of the best experiences.

Andrea & Kenneth (Jicaro 3)

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Kdamly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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