Beautiful Location, Great Food, Hard to Get There
I was very fortunate to spend two nights at the beautiful Eco resort of Morgans Rock in late October of 2006. The design and location of the resort are incredible with beautiful ocean views and a wonderful and natural architectural design that seemed as though it had somehow grown out of the jungle in a natural and unobtrusive manner. The scenery was spectacular with beach and ocean views of a secluded and deserted bay that had a wonderful crescent shaped beach. The natural forest setting and wildlife are also as spectacular as the attraction of the ocean. Fantastically colored butterflies abound along with the unmistakable sounds of howler monkeys echoing in the distance. The staff at Morgans Rock is distinctive in their attention to the guests. They are welcoming and pleasant and really want your stay to be memorable. The food was also first rate with beautiful dishes served with nice presentation and style. I have traveled extensively and I give this unique resort my highest rating.
The only negative aspect to my story is the long distance one must travel to get to Morgans Rock. The country of Nicaragua is very poor and the roads are in very bad shape. The sights of the impoverished Nicaraguans along the way into the resort from Managua are very sad and just feel so wrong and preventable. With so much natural beauty and resources, the nation and the people really should be in far better economic condition. With the prospect of Daniel Ortega and his leftist supporters in Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea and China poised to take power once again, it appears that the beautiful country and most importantly the sweet people could be in for another rough time. One can only hope that that Ortega does not win and foreign investment and tourists will continue to flow into Nicaragua, which have the only hope of improving the lives of the decent Nicaraguan people.
The trip is well worth the challenge in getting there.
My boyfriend and I have just returned home from a 5 week trip in Nicaragua. Having spent the first 4 weeks in somewhat basic accomodation, whilst we were working, we decided to splash out on a few more upmarket places in our final "holiday" week. (Including Hotel Alahambra in Granada) WOW!! is all i can say to Morgans Rock! As others have mentioned, photographs will never do the place justice. We loved the place - only stayed for 2 nights but it was well worth it.
Nestled amongst the forest, the high quality bungalows were fantastic. We were fortunate to be there during the wet season which meant that the forest was lush and green and privacy was at its upmost. Lying in bed at night listening to the sea crashing and creatures such as howler monkeys and owls was great - the thunder storm was even more dramatic! A romantic and luxurious getaway that'd be hard to beat!
In fear of being extremely repetitive a quick summary:- Staff - excellent. Horse-ride - fun & interesting. Food - scrumptious (esp the choc mousse!!). Cocktails - delicious. Weather - great (despite storms!). Morgans Rock is a truely amazing place in an equally great country. I just wish it was closer to the UK so that i could afford the flight for my boyfriend and I to visit again!! Writing this has confirmed that i am still suffering from withdrawal symptoms and holiday blues!
It's true. Morgan's Rock has to be one of the most beautiful places to stay in the world.
It is almost perfect.
The design and finish is flawless. They even have a toilet on their beach. ' What you mean I don't have to go in the sea ?'
There are only two complaints:
1. They charge for everything per person. Great if you're travelling solo. But a total rip-off if there's more than one person in your party. This is particularly galling when it comes to their car service and the room rate.
2. The evening meals are well below par. They are trying too hard to serve US / European style a la carte food, when they would do far better to concentrate more on serving clean, fresh local fare rather than overcooked meat or fish in heavy sauces with bolied veg. (Breakfast and lunch were spot-on though)
Having travelled extensively, Morgans Rock is one of the few places in the world that I would willingly return to for many more visits.
Morgans Rock is heavenly. The service is impeccable. We picked this place because of the proximity to Houston and also because we saw it in National Geographic Traveler Magazine. It was phenomenal. The best of everything: privacy, rest/relaxation, some activities/adventure, wildlife, beautiful secluded beach, impeccable service, etc..)
Also, it was a perfect location for us because we like traveling in latin america and love to practice our spanish. The staff was soo soo soo friendly and the size of this resort was perfect. We got to know several guests there--it was like a small community.
The food was not as 'excellent' as previous reviewers have written but it was very good; if you like fish, you will love the food. Of course, they are very limited as 90 % of their food is from their farm. They do have vegetarian choices daily but they are not that tasty. The fresh juices are excellent. The coffee/cappucinos were excellent.
They even let me take a few beans home!
P.S. I was worried about bugs as i had read from all the prev reviews, but in Jan, there wwere NO mosquitos, no crazy flying creatures. Just a few large grasshoppers and small crabs in your room, which are really not that bothersome. And trust me, i'm the kind of girl who makes my husband come home to take a roach out of my house. I will not do it!
Lastly, note that jan/feb are great time to visit but it can be windy on the beach. I still am glad i went then. March maybe the best though b/c all the trees arefruiting but it is quite a bit hotter, which as a Texan , i don't think i would mind because you have the Pacific Ocean there at your feet!
Paradise in Nicaragua
We just returned from seven days at Morgan's Rock and can't say enough about this amazing property. My wife and I travelled with my two daughters, ages 16 and 14, and everyone had a near perfect experience. Morgan's Rock is modeled after Lapa Rios in Costa Rica (Osa Peninsula), which we stayed at a couple of years ago - and both are the definition of eco-tourism. As you can read on other reviews, the staff is awesome, although speaking a little Spanish will help you immensely as most of the staff are still learning English. The rooms work well for small families and would be perfect for a honeymoon. Be sure to take some of the tours and trips - we spent a day in Granada, at the Masaya volcano, and at some of the markets. We also visited the school, which I would recommend. The beach is probably the best beach we have been to anywhere in the world - very private, beautiful waves and nice amenities such as shade palapas and hammocks. Although pricey for Nicaragua, I can't imagine a better place to stay in that country, and maybe in all of Central America.
Our Honeymoon Was Amazing!!
I could not have asked for a more perfect location for our honeymoon. Words cannot describe how beautiful this place is - and how peaceful and tranquil. It was the perfect mix of adventure and luxery. The staff was fantastic (Hi Juan!) and the food was amazing. There weren't a lot of other guests at the hotel (it's still really new and word is just getting out how fantastic it is), so we had basically a private beach for moonlit walks. We swam in their amazing salt water pool, drank wine at the bar, and most importantly, reconnected with each other and relaxed after the wedding chaos. What an amazing time!
Morgan's Rock, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
We recently returned from our Honeymoon, which was two weeks in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. We started the trip off with four nights at Morgan's Rock, August 13th-17th. I'm reviewing each of our four destinations (Morgan's Rock, Peace Lodge at la Pas Waterfall Gardens, Bosque del Cabo, and the Four Seasons at Penninsula Papagayo) using a "Good, Bad, and Ugly" format. Here it is for Morgan's Rock. I'll warn you, this will be quite long.
- Without a doubt, the best part about Morgan's Rock is the quality of the people. With over 100 people employed on the property, and over 40 at the hotel, the owners are doing a lot to provide opportunities for natives of the second poorest country (behind Haiti) in the Western Hemisphere. Each and every person I met, from gardeners who spoke no English whatsoever, to drivers, waiters, bar tenders, and guides, was thrilled to be working at Morgan's Rock, and thrilled that you were there. Everyone enjoys practicing their (developing) English, and will happily tell you a little about themselves, where they are from, and how they got to Morgan's Rock. Take the time to interact with the staff, and you will be richly rewarded.
- Of all the places I stayed, Morgan's Rock made me feel the best, both in terms of doing good things for an aspiring tourism industry (people learning hotel management skills, etc.) and for an ecosystem that has really been depleted. The reforestation efforts and sustainable agriculture implementations are terrific. Be sure and take some of MR's tours to get a feel of what goes on across the entire property, away from the hotel. It's a feel-good story.
- Food and Accomodations were first-rate. Bungalows were gorgeous, food was fantastic, and the amenities are very nice. Many (not all) of the mixed drinks were very good, and priced fairly ($4 or so for a cocktail) I'm a big fan of Tona, one of three local beers. The tours, and the beach are all first-rate (and have been written about elsewhere). Take a look at the pictures, it really is that beautiful.
- On the final night of our stay, the waiters surprised us with a beautiful lobster dinner. I don't eat seafood, but it was so wonderfully prepared I had to try it. My wife informed me it was some of the best lobster she's ever had.
- Green Season. I'm really pleased we decided to visit during the rainy season, when all the plants look lush and gorgeous. After seeing pictures from the Spring when everything is brown, I can say it's much prettier in the Fall, and the rain isn't too bad. It only rained a few times over four days, and was often bright and sunny. Bring high-quality rain jackets, however. We picked up jackets on-sale from Northface and Marmot that worked wonderfully.
-Sea Turtles nest here in the Fall. You can sign up at the desk to be woken up, and our third night there, we got a knock at the door around 5 am. We had the fantastic opportunity to watch a Sea Turtle lay eggs on the beach, then return to the ocean.
- The staff are still learning some of the finer points of service, especially for a very expensive and upscale resort. I ordered a drink at the bar one night, had it brought to me, drank a few sips, then had the bartender apologize and inform me it was the wrong one. I then watched in horror as he took it across the room and served it to the correct patron (fortunately I don't have any communicable diseases). I also watched a bartender fish insects out of my drink with a spoon then serve it to me. I'm pretty layed back about stuff like that, but it would probably bother some travelers.
- The electricity went out quite often while we were there. The lodge has a backup that prevents any interruption, but the rooms were without power sometimes for several hours. This means no lights, and worse, no ceiling fan while you're sleeping. We brought a very high-quality LED flashlight (approx $50) from REI, and got plenty of good use out of it.
- For laundry service, you have to bring your laundry basket to reception, and pick it up when it's ready. Considering the hotel price, and the fact that you're paying (we payed approx $20) for the laundry service, I'd think it should be picked up and dropped off from your room. The hike's not fun carrying a big basket of laundry.
- The drive from Managua to Morgan's Rock could easily be cut in half were the roads maintained. This is a frequent theme in Costa Rica as well, and there's nothing the resorts can really do about it. Just know you're in for a very bumpy ride. Words can't describe it, it's something you'll have to experience for yourself. That said, I've travelled extensively in South-East Asia, New Zealand, rural parts of Southern Europe, etc. and never seen conditions such as this.
- The bugs, plain and simple. Given the location, you should be, and probably are, prepared for them. I thought we were, but my new wife had a tough time adjusting to them. Mosquitos are erratic, there are either lots, or none, depending on the weather. Three out of four days, we didn't get a single bite, but the last day we got eaten alive. Lots of spiders and lizards, which I found fascinating. The main problem is that while the cabins have netting on the walls to keep flying things out, they are by no means sealed, and anything that wants to walk in, can, and probably will. The beds do no have mosquito netting, nor do they particularly need it, but my wife found it all very disconcerting. We found all kinds of cool creatures (ants, crabs, spiders, huge crazy flying things) in our room, most of which I carefully caught and released outside. The one exception was a rather large scorpion that greeted us our third night there, which really freaked my wife out. I killed it, and within an hour ants had carried the carcass out into the rain forest. Again, to me, fascinating, but if you are sensitive to insects in the slightest (I knew my wife was, but figured she'd be ok), be warned.
This is getting ridiculously long, and I could add at least another dozen points to the good, and maybe a few more to the bad. Suffice it to say, however, that Morgan's Rock was my favorite resort on the trip, and definitely the most unique. It offers good wildlife (although not as good as the Osa), fantastic food, great service, and gorgeous accomodations. If you go, be sure to get out away from the hotel on the property, as you'll have the best opportunity to see wildlife (and will undoubtedly see many howler monkeys).
Stayed at Morgan's Rock for 4 days in December. What an unbelievable place. Too many wonderful experiences to list. Rooms were beautiful, service was perfect, food wasexcellent. The beach was huge, private with shady cabana/tents. Beautiful! Great boogie boarding. Traveled with children, but many were there as couples. Can't recommend this place enough. Paradise. We did many of their tours.
We arrived at Morgan's Rock in December desperately in need of the 3Rs: rest, relaxation and recreation. And we got it in abundance. Now, in the middle of January, feeling cold and miserable, I think back to the four days we spent there - the beautiful cabins, the glorious setting, the fresh food, endlessly helpful staff - and feel better about life.
Do yourself a favour though: as tempting as it is to spend all your time lying on your private deck overlooking the Pacific or on the virtually deserted beach, make sure you do some of the hikes or tours around the hacienda. That way you'll appreciate that this is a genuine ecolodge and might even learn a few things on the way. It'll also stop you putting on too much weight after all the delicious meals.
The hotel, like Nicaragua itself, might not be your thing if you're more used to the Four Seasons type of resort - the staff are training on the job and Spanish is the language of choice for most. But if you prefer that sort of place you probably shouldn't be going to Nicaragua anyway.
What a place!
My family stayed here over Christmas 2005 and we had five lovely days here. The location of the cabins are overlooking a deserted and beautiful beach, found after some difficult navigation on dirtroads through the forest. All the food (included) was excellent and made by food grown on the ecolodge's farm. The service was good and the cabins were absolutly stunning. Made almost as a part of the forest with no solid walls you really felt like sleeping among the forrest creatures. All cabins also had their private little hut on the beach. The Ecolodge also arranged a lot of activities for their guests (but you have to pay extra for this). For relaxation you probably won't find a better place to be.
san juan del sur's beach
Ali's priceless look
Cara de Indio, in the background
Semana Santa in San Juan del Sur
San Juan Del Sur in March
I'm traveling to San Juan Del Sur in March and will be staying for a week. I understand it's low season and I'm curious what the town is like at this time. Is there a night life or is everything dead? Any help would be appreciated.
Re: San Juan Del Sur in March
I myself have never been, but I've been doing a lot of research on Nicaragua; hopefully I'll get a chance to get down there soon. From what I gather, Managua is hopping all year round, and about 2 hours by car from San Juan del Sur. Apparently, buses run regularly between those places.
Aside from nightlife, Nicaragua has tons of historic and natural attractions. The Volcán Masaya National Park, Lake Nicaragua, beaches and hiking trails, incredible surfing, Granada...Seems like the kind of place where there's always something to do. Best of luck on your trip; I'd love to hear how it goes!
Re: San Juan Del Sur in March
March is high season in San Juan del Sur. There is always night time activity. The days are always relaxed.