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 ;)
- 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