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“Amazing Honeymoon” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Aqua Wellness Resort

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Aqua Wellness Resort
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   1 Redonda Bay, Playa Gigante, Nicaragua   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 2 hotels in Playa Gigante
Jacksonville, Florida
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
“Amazing Honeymoon”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

We spent 10 nights at Aqua in December for our honeymoon, we really did not want to leave! We have been to Costa Rica numerous times and really wanted to visit Nicaragua, so glad we finally did!

Location: Aqua is right outside of Playa Gigante. The location is perfect! Very secluded, private beach and gate with security guard. Aqua is also next to a tiny neighborhood of very nice houses.

Check-in: Fast and painless. We were offered water upon arrival and the 2 guys at reception were very friendly. You receive a cell phone at check-in with the spa, reception and restaurant numbers programmed in for you. Our 2 huge/heavy suitcases were carried by another friendly man who led us to our villa. Our bed was decorated with swan and heart towels, and flower petals with something spelled out which I couldn't tell because we turned the fan on full blast before we realized :( There was also a heart shape with flower petals in our plunge pool too.

Villa: We stayed in the Aracarri Penthouse with our private plunge pool. The penthouse has a 2 story villa with the bedroom and bathroom upstairs and a sitting area and another bathroom downstairs. We really did not use the downstairs at all, only to store our beach bags and surfboard. The kitchen was in a separate villa which was connected by a wrap around deck. The view from the Aracarri especially right outside of the kitchen was beautiful and looked right out into Redonda Bay and the Giant's Foot. I felt that our villa was the most private because we were the highest villa, no one was next to us on either side and the villa below us had their balcony in the front so they could not see us behind them. The bed was very comfortable, shower worked great and the kitchen supplies were just what we needed to cook breakfast and dinner a few times. Fresh water is supplied in the kitchen and each time housekeeping comes they filled a fresh pitcher for the bedroom. Our plunge pool was cleaned every morning, but unfortunately our light didn't work so I was reluctant to get in it at night. The only insects we saw were big ants in the upstairs bathroom on and around the toilet. Which we didn't mind. Bug spray worked well every other day sprayed around the toilet :) The upstairs bedroom has A/C and a fan. The downstairs and the kitchen only fans. The fans were all we really needed because there always seemed to be a nice breeze. There is also a safe in the room. A family of monkeys used our balcony as a path each day. They came right onto our balcony, hung out, and tried to drink from the plunge pool! We stayed in the kitchen during this, but we were literally separated from them through the glass that's it!

Property- Yes, there are stairs. But they really are not bad if you are in ok health (we are both 29 years old). They only seemed "bad" the first time we came back up from the beach after that it was fine. I felt like I was getting a leg workout and burning a few calories each time we went up/down :) I actually liked them, ha! I read that others say "stay near the beach" but really it is all the same. If you stay near the beach you have to walk up the stairs every time to get to your car or reception and if you stay at the top you have to walk down the stairs when you go to the beach/restaurant. Bottom line- stairs are not a problem and I liked staying at the top because we rented a car and were off exploring almost everyday.

The walking path to Gigante was about 20 minutes and was shaded. We had an encounter with some cows and horses :) On the way back we ended up coming across the path up to Giant's Foot and started doing it ourselves in flip flops, which probably wasn't the greatest idea but we didn't have any problems and the views were absolutely amazing from that high up!

We did not do any yoga, but the yoga platform has a wonderful view of the bay!

Restaurant- We only ate here three times. The service was actually fast at Aqua compared to the restaurants in Gigante! I never once thought that service was slow. Why do you want to rush anyways, when you are on vacation with such a beautiful beach setting surrounding you? The food was excellent- we had ceviche (so good), bruschetta, chicken and cashew pasta, and the catch of the day pasta. We also ate here on pizza night as well! The quality was top notch and presentation was great! We enjoyed our meals with ice cold Tona or rum and coke which had a good amount of rum :) The only downside is that the prices were high. We ended up eating in Gigante the rest of our time for about half the price!

Spa- If you book a spa service call the spa directly! I personally asked the front desk if I could book a massage and the man told me they were completely booked. When I walked out from the reception, another hotel guest came out and said that he had told her the same thing yesterday but when she called the spa they had tons of availability. So I called the spa and sure enough I got in the next day for a massage. The spa setting is amazing, it is basically a villa but cleared out with 2 massage tables and bathroom area overlooking the bay with gentle breezes flowing in. I was hesitant about booking a massage but was so glad that I did :) Veronica was professional and very nice. You get to fill out a Q/A handout about your preferences and pick and smell your own oil.

Beach- The beach was just a picture perfect setting! When we first arrived there were only 2 other couples around. It really seemed like we had the beach to ourselves. I like a previous guest, felt like I was on the holiday Corona commercial ha! It was very relaxing sitting there with cold Tona in hand! I brought my own mat with a pillow for the sand and chairs so the lack of cushions didn't bother me. There are hammocks along the beach but be careful of the ants that like to hang out on the ropes attached to trees. There is plenty of shade too. You get free access to the paddle boards, kayaks, and snorkeling gear. We took the paddle boards out once into the extremely calm bay, it was nice!

Tours- We are not the touristy kind of couple, but ended up booking a sunset cruise and a Nicaraguan fishing experience. The sunset cruise was wonderful! The boat/panga comes right up onto the shore down at the beach to pick you up. We brought our own beer with us but Mr. Zack had some for us too! Not only do you get to see an amazing sunset, you also get a nice cruise along the coast and see beaches, cliffs, etc that you wouldn't have seen otherwise. It lasted about 2 hours and we were the only ones on the boat!

The Nicaraguan fishing tour was great too! Mr. Zack was very friendly and informative. Unfortunately my husband only caught 2 fish but just days before the entire village was catching fish left and right then really strong winds came which had something to do with our lack of fish :) But it was a nice experience, drinks were supplied for us as well.

I would definitely recommend Aqua to future honeymooners and anyone looking for a relaxing vacation. Aqua is definitely worth it but it is going to be a once in a lifetime place to stay, at least for our wallets ;)

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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231 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (95)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
camas, wa
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2013

My husband and I have travelled a lot over the past 6 years, and this was by far our favorite place we've found! We visited other areas as well as we were travelling through central america, but this was so remote and peaceful, we just fell in love with it immediately. Our first day there we were greeted by howler monkeys just outside our room, and two adult monkeys and a baby stayed in the tree closest to our room for most of 2 days. In fact one night, we forgot to lock our kitchen door (which was a separate building from the bedroom) and monkeys broke in and stole our bananas and sugar! They left quite a mess too, haha. We went in October, which was the down season, and there were only 4 other guests at the resort during our stay, so we had it pretty much to ourselves. Every time we went down to the private beach owned by the resort, we were the only people there. We went kayaking in the cove, fishing in the ocean, trekking through the jungle, and of course swimming at the beach. There were tiny little hermit crabs all over the beach, and my husband loved playing with them (just like a kid! ha). We stayed in one of the rooms with a plunge pool which I highly recommend, as by the time you walk back from the beach in the hot weather you're ready to get in the water again lol. That being said, there is really no nightlife in that area, so if that's really important to you, be aware of that. We usually go out at night on vacations, but honestly we loved it there so much and there was so much to do, that we never even missed it. The hotel has a restaurant and bar that's open in the evenings, it's just that you can't really go to town unless you want to pay for an expensive taxi ride. We had not one negative experience at Aqua, and the staff was all super friendly and went out of their way to help us with whatever we wanted. We went to Granada before Aqua, and we were suppose to continue on to Costa Rica, but ended up staying at Aqua a few extra days and cutting short Costa Rica because we loved it so much! We usually like to travel somewhere new every vacation, but this is the only place that we know we are definitely returning to in the next few years. It was absolutely perfect.

Room Tip: The rooms with a private plunge pool are definitely worth it!
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013

My boyfriend and I came to Aqua for a 5 night stay at the end of July and had a fantastic vacation that was both relaxing and adventurous. We found the resort to be a perfect couples retreat and in fact met many couples on their anniversary, honeymoon, or private getaways.

TRANSPORTATION
Flying from Miami to Managua is a tidy 2 hours. From there, it’s a 2-3 hour drive to the resort, depending on the aggressiveness of your driver (who probably won’t speak English). You’ll want to stay awake for the ride if you can – the drive is your best chance to get a view into Nicaraguan life, in both small towns and farmland. Cattle, chickens, horses, and other livestock are ubiquitous, and at times we found ourselves weaving between the herds. As the drive went on, I found myself worrying if we should have made the safer play and visited one of more tried and true Caribbean islands… until the moment we arrived!

ROOMS
The villas are cozy and equipped with all the essentials. Ours came with a plunge pool (a luxury that comes at no extra cost, if available). The bed is very comfortable and the shower provided is spacious and has great water pressure. It was great waking up each morning to a view of the luscious brush of the forest canopy (some villas at the resort have ocean views). WIFI is available. You’ll have to get used to living with a few insects. Once we even saw a small lizard climbing our wall! (It’s the forest – what else would you expect?) Overall, the villas are very pleasant and homey. That’s a very good thing, because there’s not much else to do at night than chill in your room. (For this reason, it’s best to get into the habit of going to sleep early and waking up early.)

FOOD AND WATER
Coming from NYC and being pretty big foodies ourselves, we were not sure what the food would be like, but it definitely went beyond expectations. The chef makes a very conscious effort to use organic, locally sourced ingredients, which added to the overall “freshness” that every meal carried. All the bread is made on site and is fantastic! They even have pizza night twice a week, which was a major highlight. My other favorite dishes were the chicken curry and anything involving pesto. The smoothies and cocktails were also a major hit. We especially enjoyed the Pina Coladas and Aqua signature cocktails.

I know other people have mentioned that the food was overpriced, but we found it to be quite appropriate for the quality of food we were getting in such a remote location.

One of our major concerns was about the safety of the drinking water. However, as the website accurately describes, there is purified water in the rooms, at the restaurant, and the other sites on the resort. Neither my boyfriend nor I ever got sick from food or water, which was a great relief.

BEACH
The beach is undoubtedly the highlight of Aqua. The view of the Pacific from just outside the edge of the forest is breathtaking. Don’t take my word from it - go see the pictures for yourself. What truly makes this beach standout from others is the privacy; wedged in its own cove, out of the view of other nearby resorts. Oftentimes we found ourselves completely alone. One morning, my boyfriend read a book in a (super comfy) hammock from 6 to 9 in the morning without sighting another person. He said "I felt like I was in one of those Corona commercials, staring at the ocean with no one else around, accompanied only by sounds of the ocean. My only complaint would be that the lounge chairs are in desperate want of cushioning."

EXCURSIONS
Part of what makes Aqua so unique is the ability to take day trips and do more adventurous activities while still being able to return to such a relaxing and private oasis. Over the 5 nights we were there, we decided to go on two excursions, which I think was a good amount. The Pia de Gigante hike is beautiful (and inexpensive), but be warned that this is not an easy “walk”, but a medium level hike with rock climbing and maneuvering at parts. The view at the top was spectacular! We also did the Mombacho Volcano and Canopy Tour which included a walk through the rainforest, followed by ziplining through the trees at the foot of the volcano. Our guide, Octavio, was really knowledgeable and made the day quite a learning experience about Nicaragua’s topology. In retrospect, neither of us regret going, but the trip was a bit expensive.

MISC
We had a couples massage and it was absolutely wonderful! Our massage room was located in the treetops with views of the ocean with the warm breeze sweeping in. The wildlife around the resort is really fascinating. Besides the monkeys, we also saw several types of crabs and snakes.

Overall this is a wonderful resort, and we both are looking forward to go back for a second visit!

Room Tip: Get a room with a plunge pool!
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2013 via mobile

We were very pleased with our experience at Aqua. Unfortunately we had a short stay at the resort so we did not get to partake in all of the amenities offered. I would have love to indulge on daily complimentary yoga classes and in taking the kayaks out. Our room was clean and the bed was very comfortable. Our casita was perfect. Simple and very clean. They offered us a welcome drink upon arrival which I thought was a nice touch. It definitely is a workout getting to and from the restaurant and the casitas due to the hundreds of stairs. Eco friendly and wonderful.

Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Orleans, Louisiana
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2013

I was a little nervous about our stay at the resort after reading some of the reviews on here. We got a great deal on jetsetter, so I was hoping it would just be decent for our 4 night stay. It far exceeded all of our expectations.Our villa was spotless and very comfortable. We did not see any bugs in our villa during our stay. It was a hike to the beach and restaurant but was not that bad. The food was outstanding-especially the pizza on pizza night. My other favorite dish was the house salad, everything was fresh and delicious. The staff was friendly and helpful and our tour guide on the zip lining tour was great. The beach was beautiful and very relaxing. Overall a great trip!

Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013

My husband and I recently visited Aqua where we staying in a luxury tree house. The staff, the surroundings, the accommodations, the food and drink quality, the yoga instruction... everything was second-to-none. One evening, we hiked over to the fishing village in Gigante where we had dinner at Don Cameron's and met some great people. That evening, back at Aqua, a family of monkeys came to our balcony and drank from our pool, while we sat only a few meters away. Beautiful experience!

Room Tip: I don't think there's a bad room on the property!
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2013

Great location! Beautiful beach for swimming or relaxing with a good book. Amazing sunsets.

Rooms were clean, beds were comfortable and the showers warm.

Staff was helpful and helped us coordinate travel from the airport and to our next stop in San Juan Del Sur.

Yoga every morning at 8:30 - our instructor, Amy, was FANTASTIC!

The restaurant was disappointing ... breakfast was good (loved the yogurt and granola), but dinner and lunch menus were limited. They often didn't have many of the items listed, so we found ourselves ordering the same thing over and over. Recommend checking out the restaurants in Gigante for more variety.

Overall a great place to stay if you a looking for a more cushy Nica experience, though was a bit overpriced for what it was.

Room Tip: Rooms by the beach require less steps, however they are a little bit louder as you are near the beac...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management_AQUA, Manager at Aqua Wellness Resort, responded to this review, January 10, 2013
Hi Mrswane,

We are glad you enjoyed your stay with us, and hope to see you again in the future!
Thanks for your comments regarding the restaurant. As other guests have noted, we do at times experience problems with the availability of food in our restaurant due to our remote location. During your visit we were also in the process of updating our restaurant menus and providing staff with a series of training sessions to address the new items on our menu and inform guests properly when we do not have a dish available.

One of the main shortage issues was that our previous menu was a bit overly reliant upon ingredients that are at certain times difficult to obtain. AQUA’s new menu does an even better job of utilizing ingredients which can be sourced nearby, minimizing our logistical problems as much as possible. The kitchen staff is also now fully trained in the new menu and updates the wait staff daily on what is out of stock. We are also making our best effort to have a substitute dish available if we are out of something in order to keep our menu as expansive as possible. We look forward to continually improving our restaurant service in the future and appreciate your feedback.

Best Regards,
AQUA Management
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Aqua Wellness Resort

Address: 1 Redonda Bay, Playa Gigante, Nicaragua
Phone Number:
Location: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > Playa Gigante
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 hotels in Playa Gigante
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Aqua Wellness Resort 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are a luxury eco-resort with a focus on wellness. The yoga platform overlooks our private beach in protected Redonda bay. Accommodations are well appointed luxury treetop villas built with a dramatic vantage over the bay, full kitchens, private plunge pools, teak + Balinese showers and wraparound decks. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Aqua Wellness Hotel Playa Gigante
Aqua Wellness Resort Nicaragua/Playa Gigante

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