01 of 09
Mukul Beach, Golf & Spa: Nicaragua's First True Luxury Resort (& It's Great)
Mukul, Nicaragua's Tourism Game-Changer
Mukul Beach, Golf & Spa, open since 2013, is Nicaragua’s first resort that can be considered a true luxury hotel. It is a private-feeling, friendly hotel with only 37 accommodations, making it a boutique hotel. Mukul is semi-all-inclusive, with breakfast, lunch, and some liquor included with room rates. Mukul offers some value packages.
Mukul Wins the Awards
Mukul is the local Mayan word for secret or hidden. But not for long! I'm not the only travel journalist who was impressed by Mukul. Its travel accolades include awards from Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, National Geographic, Bride's, Robb Report, Elite Traveler, and Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report.
Spa Mukul was named “Best Spa in the World” by Virtuoso, while Guacalito Golf Course was named one of the “Best Golf Courses” by Robb Report.
Private Feeling and Eco-Pride at Mukul
Set on a sprawling property of 1,670 acres, Mukul feels like a private estate. In fact, it is owned by Nicaraguan entrepreneur Don Carlos Pellas, owner of the country's renowned Flor de Caña rum.
Mukul is set on pristine Manzanillo Beach on Nicaragua's beautiful Guacalito de la Isla region, also called the Emerald Coast, on Nicaragua's Pacific shore. Mukul is green indeed. It's an eco-conscious resort committed to the sustainable lifestyle
Why Visit Nicaragua in the First Place?
Nicaragua is an unspoiled tropical nation in Central America. Its internal political troubles are long over.
Today, "Nica" (as in-the-know travelers call it) is an emerging luxury travel destination.
And as the country's first true luxury resort, Mukul can be considered the Big Bang of Nicaraguan tourism.
Visit soon and be the first person you know to explore the emerging luxury travel destination of Nicaragua. (See why I think it's time for luxury travelers to discover Nicaragua.)
Getting to Mukul Is an Easy Trip
Two-to-three-hour nonstop flights from Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, and Houston bring passengers to Managua International Airport. When you land, Mukul is a two-hour scenic ride from Managua (included with room rate). A 25-minute helicopter ride is an optional alternative.
Mukul's High-End Hospitality Service
Mukul service was refined and attentive when I visited shortly after opening.
• Once the inevitable early kinks are ironed out, I expect Mukul to become known for its warm, efficient, five-star hotel service
• At Mukul, you're treated more like a friend of the Pellas family than as a hotel guest. When you check in, you're told "this is your house"
Next; Will you, personally, like Mukul? Take the quizContinue to 2 of 9 below.
02 of 09
Will You Like Mukul Beach, Golf & Spa in Nicaragua?
Will Mukul Prove to Be Your Getaway Bliss?
The answer is probably yes if:
• You're an experienced luxury traveler, and a little-known destination like Nicaragua is a natural for your travel bucket list
• Quiet and privacy are very important to you
• Ditto five-star creature comforts and beautiful design
• You love then cozy, personal feeling of boutique hotels
• You like the idea of semi-inclusive pricing
• You seek a sleepy tropical getaway with someone special
• Or you're taking time off with your kids, but don't want a frenetic family resort
• You’re a spa connoisseur, and like small, non-corporate spas
• You crave outdoor activities like mountain biking and paddleboarding
• You're intrigued by Nicaraguan dishes and Flor de Caña rum (on demand!)
The answer is probably no if:
• You like big, buzzy hotels with numerous social and dining options
• Or you want a busy tropical vacation in a palm-shaded urban area like Cancun or South Beach, or a resort development like Wailea on Maui
• Or you prefer modern design hotels to rustic eco-resorts
• You don't want to travel two hours beyond the airport to your hotel
Next: the 37 rooms at Mukul are all suites and all beautifulContinue to 3 of 9 below.
03 of 09
Only 37 Guest Suites at Mukul, and They're Gorgeous
All-Suite Guest Accommodations at Mukul Beach, Golf & Spa
Mukul's 37 guest lodgings are all beautiful, and all suites. The suites have different styles.
• A dozen one- or two-bedroom Beach Villas, six oceanfront and six ocean-view; villas have butler service, spa-like bathrooms, private plunge pools
• 24 bohios (cliffside cottages)
• Casona Don Carlos, an oceanfront compound with six bedrooms; available when the Pellas family is not in residence
The Look of Mukul
Mukul accommodations are modern and elegant, with a strong sense of Nicaraguan design. Natural touches of wood and palm add an air of eco-chic. And traditional Nicaraguan handicrafts abound, such as lamps of clay from the Masaya volcano and headboards crafted of rum-barrel staves
My Choice: a Bohio Cottage
Set 300 feet above Manzanillo Beach within the rainforest, bohios are like luxury tree houses. I found my 621-square-foot, one-bedroom bohio very spacious, private, and serene. Floor-to-ceiling windows afforded mesmerizing views of the ocean and rainforest foliage. I loved the king bed with pillow menu, walk-in closet, and oversized bathroom sheathed in Nicaraguan travertine marble, with double sinks and big rainfall shower. I liked lounging on the good-sized deck, with a daybed and plunge pool.
A potential drawback of the bohios: they're farther from Mukul's beach and restaurants, but you can be picked up by golf cart.
See what's included (& what you pay for) with Mukul's semi-inclusive ratesContinue to 4 of 9 below.
04 of 09
What Makes Mukul a Semi-Inclusive Resort
What Is Semi-Inclusive Pricing, and What's Included at Mukul?
Mukul is semi-inclusive, which is a less-comprehensive variation of all-inclusive hotel pricing.
What's Included at Mukul
• Full breakfast and lunch, with liquor
• Food service at the pool and on the beach
• "Rooster service" (pre-breakfast coffee/tea and pastries delivered to your deck)
• Room minibar with top-shelf Flor de Caña rum and Tona beer from Nicaragua, soda, chips and the like, coffeemaker
• Domestic premium open bar until 5pm, including Flor de Caña rums, plus tequila, vodka, whiskey, cocktails, wine, soft drinks
• Car service from and to Managua International Airport
• A myriad of water sports and nature activities (details here)
• Tips except for dinner and the bar after 5pm
What's Not Included at Mukul
Guests' expenses include:
• Dinner (and bar liquor after 5pm)
• Spa treatments
• Off-property activities like scuba diving and fishing excursions
Next: See what Mukul's upscale Nicaragua nfood is likeContinue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
Dining & Drinking at Mukul
Food and Drink at Mukul
Dining is a highlight of resort life at Mukul. The resort serves what it calls Cocina Nikul: Nicaraguan cuisine a la Mukul. This is a modern take on Nicaraguan cooking. Food is fresh and healthy: produce grown by Nicaraguan farmers, organic grass-fed beef, and fresh fish caught in the neighboring coastal village of Gigante.
The kitchen's range is reflected in dishes like his Dover Sole Sashimi with sushi rice and the bistro-style veal cheeks with truffle oil
Dining Spots at Mukul
Beach Terrace Grill is a bar and restaurant serving all three meals plus handcrafted cocktails. Grilled dishes are a specialty here, especially fresh Pacific fish. The bar is the place for "vertical tastings" of various vintages of Flor de Caña rum
La Mesa is a cozy, sophisticated dining room. Its Cocina Nikul dishes focus on Mesoamerican ingredients. It is decorated with mementos and photos documeningt the Pellas family's 135-year history in Nicaragua.
The Beach Barbecue, an occasional event, is a festive barefoot affair. Expect live entertainment and group toasts over rum.
Learn How to Cook Cocina Nikul
Guests can take Nicaraguan cooking class with the chef, for an extra fee.
Next: Mukul's stunning and challenging oceanfront golf courseContinue to 6 of 9 below.
06 of 09
Spa Mukul, Six Spa Experiences in One
Spa Mukul, a One-of-a-Kind Concept
Spa Mukul is a white-domed rainforest sanctuary that resembles a fantasy village. The spa has won top=tier awards from American Spa magazine and from Virtuoso, the luxury travel planner.
Spa Mukul Is Like Six Spas in One. Pick Your Favorite!
Spa Mukul is uniquely designed and conceived. It offers six private spa casitas, each with its own concept and style. Each casita becomes your private playground. Treatments are long and languid, ranging from three hours to a full day.
Wellness Retreats at Mukul
The resort has become a destination for wellness travel, with scheduled rereat weeks focusing on health and fitness pursuits like yoga, weight loss, mindfulness, and more. Check out Mukul's upcoming wellness retreats.
Next: Mukul's magnificent golfContinue to 7 of 9 below.
07 of 09
Great Golf at Mukul in Nicaragua
Glorious Golf at Mukul
Golfers are going to love Mukul's links, Guacalito Golf Club. This 18-hole championship course, rambling over oceanfront, was designed by David McCay Kidd. In keeping with Mukul's commitment to the environment, the course preserved rather than remove trees.A handsome clubhouse offers lessons, pro shop, Restaurant Las Ceibas, Bar 18 1/5, and more.
The course's 18th hole, a tricky par-3, is a thrilling challenge to cap your game. See Guacalito Golf's hole-by-hole gallery.
Next: You'll never be short of things to do at MukulContinue to 8 of 9 below.
08 of 09
A Perfect Beach & Lots More to Enjoy at Mukul
There's So Much to Do Here
Guacalito is a recreational paradise. You'll never get bored at Mukul.
Cost-Free Diversions at Mukul
• Mukul is set on Manzanillo Beach, and is a beautiful walk to two other Emerald Coast beaches
• The main swimming pool is a sizable resort pool; there's also a family pool
• Morning yoga
• The gym is 24/7 and indoors, offering cardio and weight equipment, a Universal station, Pilates balls, and more
• Mountain biking (Mukul offers bikes free of charge)
• Regularly scheduled hikes and nature walks led free of charge by Mukul’s Aventura Rangers; you'll spy sloths, iguanas, tropical birds, and four species of monkeys
• Birdwatching tours furnish glimpses of native species and migratory visitors such as the blue grosbeak
• Water sports: stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), reef snorkeling, kayaking, windsurfing, non-motorized water vehicles
• Turtle Watch Program activities, with Mukul's Aventura Rangers, to help protect native endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles
Surfing at Mukul
The resort is getting a name amongst wave-riders for its dramatic Manzanillo Point. An on0site surf shop, TropicSurf, offers gear and instruction. Here's info about and pictures of Mukul surfing.
Off-Property Things to Do
Mukul is proud of its Emerald Coast surroundings, and offers a variety of expeditions for adventure-seekers and for cultural-minded visitors.
Thrills and Chills Near Mukul
• A helicopter ride to go ash-boarding down the steep black sands of Cerro Negro Volcano (how loco is that?)
• Sunset cruises and daylight sails on Mukul's yacht, Little Sugar
• Sailing, deep-sea fishing, scuba-diving
Cultural Insights Near Mukul
• A tour of the Spanish colonial city of Granada, at the foot of San Cristobal Volcano, with a tasting at the 1800s distillery Chichigalpa Ingenio San Antonio, home of Nicaragua's best rum, including Flor de Caña
• A visit to the Pellas family’s nearby lake house, El Descanso, with time to kayak, water-ski, or sunbathe on the property, plus an optional spin on the Pellas' cruiser to a few of Lake Nicaragua’s 365 volcanic islands
• A time-travel visit to the neighboring fishing village of Gigante, popular with surfers
Next: get in touch with and follow MukulContinue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
Check Out and Follow Mukul Beach, Golf & Spa
Find Out More About Mukul and Get in Touch
Mukul Beach, Golf & Spa
KM 10 Carretera Tola, Las Salinas
As is common in the travel industry, the Guest Author was provided with a complimentary visit for the purpose of describing Mukul. For details, see our site's Ethics Policy.