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“All-around perfect” 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   |  
Hotel website
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Playa Gigante
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“All-around perfect”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2013

Just spent six nights at the resort with my wife and can't say enough great things about Aqua. The location is beautiful; service and food were first rate as well. Like others, I had some concerns after reading some of the reviews on here. I am glad I didn't let them change our vacation plans, as we would have missed the best vacation of our 15 year marriage. Other couples and families we met thoroughly enjoyed themselves as well. It wasn't as if our experience was unique.

My wife and I are experienced travelers, and we suspect this resort is best for those who have traveled outside of the U.S. before and those whose lives are ordinarily busy. Redonda Bay is spectacular and peaceful to the point that we found it impossible to get worked up over service, etc. That said, my wife and I also found the staff to be professional and diligent far beyond our expections.

Our experience on our last night there is a good illustration. There was a sea turtle hatch on the beach right in the middle of our dinner, and everyone- - staff and guests together- - stopped what they were doing to get up and point the newly hatched sea turtles to the ocean. Never seen or experienced anything quite like that before and doubt we will again. We have nothing but good things to say about Aqua and hope to be back again.

Room Tip: The penthouses are great if you don't mind climbing steps, but if you don't you should prior...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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337 reviews from our community

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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 (137)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Fair Haven, New Jersey
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2013

We loved Aqua Wellness. So glad to have requested a treehouse on the beach. It's near the restaurant and yoga platform. The stairs would have been too much for us, multiple times a day.
Great excursion with Emer to Ometepe Island!
We'd highly recommend this to anyone looking to get away from it all and relax. (Wifi keeps you in touch if you need to be)... the food was fantastic, the staff helpful and the setting magical. The treehouses are natural and blend in with the environment.
If you're looking for action... this isn't the place. Just peaceful and beautiful.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2013

Really? 5 staff members (on duty & in uniform) drinking multiple cocktails behind the bar at 3:00 in the afternoon? Made me uncomfortable, to say the least. I had to clear our table (and our fly riddled plates) myself after we'd all finished eating and had been sitting there a half an hour...apparently none of the staff wanted to be taken away from their socializing. Gotten way better service at tiny, local, family-owned restaurants for 100 Cordobas (4 dollars). Bummer.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Management_AQUA, Manager at Aqua Wellness Resort, responded to this review, February 8, 2013
Hi Superduper1111,

Thank you for your comments and we obviously take this kind of news quite seriously. We have already done a full investigation to find out further details and our food and beverage manager gave a full report which I will detail below. The first question that jumped to my mind is the fact that it would be quite strange for all of our restaurant staff to be drinking cocktails at 3pm in open vicinity of any and all of our guests.

After looking into the matter I discovered that we did have a smoothie training workshop scheduled (we are looking forward to unveiling some new recipes soon!) the same week as your stay. This training was held at 3pm in the afternoon as that is when the restaurant is at its lowest capacity and actually is officially closed for meal service while our kitchen preps for dinner. This information is published in all of our room guides and I apologize for this apparent miscommunication that occurred in this case.

As the restaurant was scheduled to be vacant, management decided that it would be a good time to hold the training. They also noted that a couple of people did come down to the restaurant/bar during that time, and of course, this must be the experience that you were referencing in your post. I certainly apologize for the inconvenience and miscommunication, but I also must clearly emphasize that none of our workers were drinking alcohol on duty as you described. We have a zero tolerance drinking policy on site and have a number of managers that pass through the restaurant vicinity consistently throughout the day.

We appreciate your concern and understand your frustration with the experience. We would be more than happy to speak with you regarding the experience and hope that you will return to visit us again in the future.

Warm regards and safe travels,
AQUA Management
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacksonville, Florida
Level Contributor
49 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
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.
camas, wa
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 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.

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!

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.)

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.

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."

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.

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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 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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Additional Information about Aqua Wellness Resort

Address: 1 Redonda Bay, Playa Gigante, Nicaragua
Phone Number:
Location: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > Playa Gigante
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Playa Gigante
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Aqua Wellness Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Aqua is a luxurious eco- and wellness resort with a private white-sand beach on Nicaragua's picturesque Emerald Coast. Guest accommodations are set in beautifully crafted Tree Houses on a wooded hillside overlooking the ocean. All have decks; some have full kitchens and outdoor plunge pools. Guests enjoy yoga classes, spa treatments and hiking, and water activities including stand-up paddle boarding, snorkeling, kayaking, surfing and fishing. Our guides take guests for excursions to nearby colonial cities, parks and volcanoes. Aqua's open-air bar/lounge and restaurant, with its wood-burning pizza oven and menu of healthy international cuisine made with local ingredients, are directly adjacent to the beach. The lush forest that envelops Aqua is alive with spider and howler monkeys, and a wide variety of colorful tropical birds. Aqua is the perfect spot for a destination wedding, a honeymoon, an active family vacation -- or a serene getaway where you can enjoy nature and one of the most idyllic beaches in Nicaragua. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Aqua Wellness Hotel Playa Gigante
Aqua Wellness Resort Nicaragua/Playa Gigante

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